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redstateupdate.net
 
number 93   03.04.07
source : CIA Fact Book
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verbatim                                                                           number 18.2
“The very same guys - type
of guys that flew those
airplanes on September 11th .

...are still the ones that
are battling against a
young democracy in
Iraq."         
Washington  DC   
02.14.07
india
russia
us
china
japan
m                200                 400
Countries with the most
televisions
President Bush appointed a
new Commissioner to fill a
vacancy at the US Consumer
Product Safety Commission
who was formerly a senior
executive and a lead lobbyist
for the National Association of
Manufacturers.  The
appointee, Michael Baroody,
worked for the association,
which represents the interests
of American manufacturers
and has lobbied to block
federally mandated consumer
safety protections.

The Consumer Product Safety
Commission is the agency that
issues safety standards for
nearly all the consumer
products manufactured and
sold in the US.  The agency
investigates claims of
dangerous products, orders
product recalls and authors
product safety regulations.  

In 2000, Baroody lobbied
against the establishment of
regulations suggested by the
Occupational Safety and
Health Administration that
would have reduced workplace
injuries, and he has argued
that EPA rules limiting
businesses from producing
smog and soot are
unconstitutional.  Baroody
previously worked for the
Reagan administration as the
Director of Public Affairs and
was a speech writer for
Senator Bob Dole when Dole
headed the Republican
National Committee.

The appointment gives the
panel a quorum so that it can
vote to take formal actions or
penalize manufacturers.  The
commission has lacked a
quorum three times since
President Bush took office in
2000.                    
it's all true
Military personnel who are receiving
care or are stationed at Walter Reed
Army Medical Center have been
ordered to refrain from speaking with
reporters and press outlets without
first notifying their superiors.  The
order came in the wake of critical
attention focused on the facility’s
poor quality of care and unsafe and
unhealthy conditions after an
investigative report by the
Washington Post.

The
Army Times reported that
soldiers said that their sergeant
major advised them that they would
be awoken daily
at 6am and they should be prepared
for daily inspection at 7am every
day.  The sergeant also told them
that they must “follow the chain of
command” when asking for
assistance with medical paperwork or
if they had any complaints or
concerns about the physical
conditions of the facility.  The Times
reported that it was “unusual” for
soldiers to have daily inspections
after
they advance out of basic training.

There are additional reports of press
members having difficulty gaining
access to military medical facilities
other than Walter Reed.  The
Times
reported that projects planned by
CNN and The Discovery Channel
have been suspended. An internal
military memo said “It will be in most
cases not appropriate to engage the
media".

The ban on press coverage of the
military’s health care system comes
as President Bush proposed a
budget that would reduce funding for
veteran’s health care in the years
2009 and 2010.  The budget
proposed by the president this year
requests increases for veteran’s
health care needs over the next
two years, but calls for two cuts
just after his presidency ends.  
The cuts in spending are intended
to help Bush achieve a balanced
budget by 2012.  A spokesperson
for the president said that the
planned cuts “don’t reflect any
policy decisions”.

The cost of veteran’s medical
care has risen every year since
1987 and has increased 83
percent since 2000.  There has
been a  5 percent yearly increase
in patients in the Veteran's
Administration system over the
past years.  Health care for
veterans returning from
Afghanistan and Iraq will add over
250,000 patients to the system
next year.  It is estimated that the
Veteran's Administration will treat
more than 5.8 million patients in
2008.                         
it's all true
The Bush administration is retreating
from its repeated contention that
North Korea has developed a
sophisticated uranium enrichment
program in violation of international
accords. The accusation was first
leveled in 2002 when administration
officials used the alleged clandestine
nuclear activity as a pretext for the
suspension of a 1994 energy
exchange agreement, leading to
heightened tensions between the two
countries which culminated in North
Korea’s 2006 nuclear test.
Independent experts have long
doubted the existence of any
production-scale enrichment
program, and in testimony before the
Senate Armed Services Committee
last week, intelligence officials
revealed they
had reduced “confidence” in the
claims.

A 2002 CIA Intelligence Estimate
alleged that Pyongyang was building
a plant that would be able to produce
two or more nuclear weapons a year
by 2005. US negotiators led by John
Bolton, who headed the State
Department’s nuclear
nonproliferation office at the time,
halted talks and pressed for the
termination of the Clinton-era energy
exchange treaty. In response, North
Korea took a hard line, reactivating
its plutonium based weapons
program and eventually producing a
handful of nuclear devices.

The new doubts about the existence
of
a parallel uranium based program
have led critics to charge that the
White House bungled diplomatic
relations with Pyongyang. The
New York Times quoted a senior
administration official as saying,
“The question now is whether we
would be in the position of having
to get the North Koreans to give
up a sizeable arsenal if this had
been handled differently.”

The questions about the accuracy
of US intelligence come as the
White House is insisting that Iran
is in the process of developing a
secret  weapons program, using  
uranium enrichment
technology.      
it's all true
A legislative initiative that would
drastically increase penalties for
leaking classified information was
withdrawn last week in the face of
widespread opposition, and then
reintroduced later as an
amendment to a different bill.

The proposal, sponsored by
Republican Senator John Kyl of
Arizona, would criminalize
disclosures that have previously
been regarded as eligible for
federal “whistle blower”
protections, and would double the
penalty for violations from 10 to
20 years in prison. Kyl removed
the amendment from a data
mining bill after encountering
resistance from a range of civil
liberties and first amendment
activists, later inserting a
reworded version into a bill
relating to recommendations of
the 9/11 Commission.

Critics of the proposal say that it
essentially creates a US version
of Britain’s Official Secrets Act,
arguing that leaks are often in the
public interest, informing debate
on vital issues. They warn that  
the Kyl amendment will have a
chilling effect on press
freedom.             
it's all true
The United States Department of
Agriculture has approved a
controversial proposal by a private
company to grow rice that has been
genetically altered to produce human
genes, in an outdoor setting in
Kansas. The rice has been modified
to produce lactoferrin, lysozyme and
serum albumin, human proteins
found in breast milk, saliva, and
tears, by researchers at Sacramento,
California-based Ventria Bioscience.
The company intends to explore the
commercial possibilities of large-
scale agricultural production of
pharmaceutical substances.
Environmental advocates and food
safety organizations have expressed
fears that, as in the past, the
experimental plants will eventually
contaminate the human food chain.

According to the plan approved by
the USDA, Ventria will begin planting
on 450 acres of a 3200-acre site in
Geary County, Kansas in April. The
company failed in earlier efforts to
secure approval for locations in
California and Missouri after
opposition from local farmers. In
Missouri, brewers Anheuser-Busch
threatened a boycott of the state’s
entire rice crop if experiments with
genetically modified rice were allowed
to proceed. Ventria spokesmen
stress that a wide range of security
precautions are in place to prevent
the pharmaceutical
rice from entering the food supply.
USDA officials say the fact that
Kansas has no commercial rice
production should ensure the
isolation of the genetically altered
crop.

But many experts warn against
bioengineering on such a large
scale. Karen Perry Stillerman of the
Union of Concerned Scientists told
the
Los Angeles Times, “We’re
opposed to the production of
pharmaceutical and industrial
chemicals in food crops grown
outdoors because we think there are
too many ways contamination of the
food supply could occur.” Others
point to the USDA’s track record in
monitoring and enforcing the safety
of genetically modified crops, which
includes numerous incidents of
escapes and contaminations.

Last year a federal judge in Hawaii
ruled that the Department showed
"utter disregard" for the state's native
plant species when it allowed
cultivation of fields of corn and
sugarcane that had been genetically
altered to produce pharmaceuticals.  
Farmers from Texas, Arkansas,
Missouri, Mississippi, and Louisiana
have filed suit against Bayer
CropScience over the company's
alleged role in the contamination of
the 2006  US commercial rice
crop.      
it's all true
After meeting resistance from civil
libertarians and legislatures from
several states, the Department of
Homeland Security has forestalled
implementation of the national driver’
s license program known as Real ID.

DHS secretary Michael Chertoff
issued revised guidelines on Real ID
that include tightened standards for
security and policies for issuing the
new ID cards.  The proposal also
pushed the deadline for state’s
implementation of the federal
program back from May 2008 to
December 2009.

The Real ID Act, which calls for a
national standard for driver’s
licenses, was passed after the terror
attacks in 2001 and is intended to
protect against forgeries.  The new
cards will also
contain a magnetic strip that will
be able to hold large amounts of
information about the card-holder.  
The legislation mandates that states
use technology that allow the ID
cards to be read remotely by a
scanning device and the information
contained on the cards will be shared
on a nationwide law enforcement
database.

The American Civil Liberties Union
believes that the  IDs will "not be
effective against terrorism", and will
facilitate identity theft crimes.   The
Union also feels that the computer
readable cards are the first step
toward a national identity system.  
Several states view the legislation as
a huge unfunded federal mandate.  
The Legislature of Montana is
considering a bill that says the Real
ID Act is "inimical to the security and
well being of the people of
Montana."                         
it's all true
Administration Enriched North Korea Nuclear Intelligence
Senator Plugs
Leak Law
Company to Harvest Field of Genes
Patients Not a Virtue as Pentagon Prescribes Gag
Order
Corporate Crony
Completes Consumer
Commission
Roadblocks Slow National ID Program
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